It’s taken me a while to get into the spirit of holiday baking. I think I was caught off guard because Thanksgiving was so late in November this year. At any rate I now realize that Christmas is less than two weeks away and I’m finally in the kitchen. I have old favorites that I bake every year, but I like to mix it up and try some new cookies. This is one I’ve made before, but it’s been quite a while. I was lucky that I could even find the recipe. I just remembered that my two favorite ingredients were involved-chocolate and hazelnuts!
Hazelnut Shortbread Sticks
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely ground husked toasted hazelnuts (about 2 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces high-quality milk chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped
1/3 cup coarsely chopped husked toasted hazelnuts
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in 1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture until just combined.
Shape dough by tablespoonfuls into 3-inch-long logs. Place on prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies until light golden brown around edges, about 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool cookies completely.
Stir milk chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Place 1/3 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts in small bowl. Dip 1 end of cookie into melted chocolate, then into coarsely chopped hazelnuts. Return to rack. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let stand until chocolate is set, about 1 hour. (Cookies can be made 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)